Category Archives: Linda Cole

How a Dog is Helping to Save Sea Turtles

By Linda Coleridley terry ross

The Kemp’s ridley is the world’s smallest sea turtle. It’s also the most endangered sea turtle, with only about 1,000 breeding females left. Over-harvesting of eggs throughout the last century drastically reduced the population, and the turtle has had a hard time rebounding. To help keep these turtles from becoming extinct, a Cairn Terrier named Ridley and his owner have been working the beaches of North Padre Island in Texas, searching for nesting areas filled with precious eggs.

An adult Kemp’s ridley weighs 80 to 100 pounds and is 24 to 28 inches long, but a hatchling hits the scale at a mere 0.5 ounces and 1.5 inches. Their average lifespan is thought to be around 50 years. Found mainly in the Gulf of Mexico, they prefer diving in shallow waters. These omnivores swim to the bottom in search of crabs, their favorite food. They also eat other shellfish and jellyfish, and will dine on seaweed and sargassum now and then.

Sargassum is a brown seaweed that is found floating in clusters throughout the waters of the Gulf. To many people it’s considered worthless, especially when it washes up on shore. However, to marine life like tiny crabs, shrimp and other small sea creatures, sargassum is home and a place of refuge. For Kemp’s ridley juvenile turtles, this floating seaweed provides a place where they can rest and find food on their journey through the sea.

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The Amazing Talents of Jim the Wonder Dog

 

jim the wonder dog twodollaBy Linda Cole

Jim was a black and white Llewellyn Setter that astounded the world during the 1930s with amazing talents no one could explain. Not only was he crowned top hunting dog in the entire United States, his reputation of understanding the spoken word earned him the title of Jim the Wonder Dog.

Born in Louisiana in 1925 to purebred champion hunting dogs, Jim’s special talents were yet to be discovered. He wasn’t a cute pup and his owner didn’t think he’d be a good hunting dog, so he sold Jim to Sam Van Arsdale at a discounted price. A special bond quickly developed between man and pup, and Jim’s ugly duckling appearance faded as he grew.

When Jim was old enough to begin bird dog training, Van Arsdale took him to a trainer. However, Jim had no interest in learning; all he wanted to do was lie under a shade tree and watch the other dogs go through training exercises. Even though Jim failed his training, Van Arsdale decided to take him hunting one day and to his amazement, Jim knew exactly what to do. He quickly located birds, held a perfect point and waited until a shot rang out. On command to fetch, Jim picked up the bird and took it to Van Arsdale.

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The Different Bloodlines of the German Shepherd

german shep gomaBy Linda Cole

The German Shepherd is hands down one of the most versatile dog breeds around. This is an intelligent breed capable of doing a wide variety of jobs. The original job of the dog was as a multi-purpose herder that could protect the flock, home and family, and be a companion pet at the end of the day. However, a split occurred that took the breed in two very different directions and created an American bloodline and a German bloodline.

Captain Max von Stephanitz is the German breeder who developed the German Shepherd dog. He wanted to create a smart, strong, courageous, protective and adaptable herding dog capable of doing his job and then returning home to his family to play with the children. Von Stephanitz was interested in the working ability of the breed, and everything he did was to preserve the characteristics and traits of the dog he developed.

In 1899, he mixed early versions of shepherd dogs to come up with the Deutsche Schäferhunde, the German Shepherd dog, and wrote the standard for the breed in 1901. Soon after, von Stephanitz created a test to evaluate each dog’s herding ability, and Schutzhund to measure their mental stability, protection ability, courage, willingness to work and obedience. Both tests determine if a dog is a good candidate to use in a breeding program. Any German Shepherd bred in Germany and Europe to this day must earn a Schutzhund I title or a certificate in herding in order to be used in breeding.

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Barn Hunt, an Exciting New Dog Sport

barn hunt 1By Linda Cole

Earthdog trials are geared for go to ground Terriers that have been bred to root out small prey from underground dens. Dogs in the Terrier Group are hardworking canines bred to hunt vermin, but breeds that don’t go to ground aren’t eligible for Earthdog trials. A challenging new dog sport called Barn Hunt works off the basic concept of Earthdog trials, with a twist, and is open to all canines.

Dogs have an innate desire to hunt, regardless of what they were bred to do. Even companion breeds from the Toy Group have a healthy prey drive, and some breeds are good ratters. Miniature Pinschers were originally bred to hunt rats and small prey, and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a true hunting dog that has retained his Spaniel traits.

The Standard Schnauzer, German Pinscher and Brussels Griffon have a history of hunting vermin, but they don’t go to ground to flush out prey. Barn hunt is designed to give dogs that have traditionally been used to hunt vermin above ground a sport where they can show off their rat hunting skills.
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Can Dogs Get Tonsillitis?

tonsillitis smerikalBy Linda Cole

We don’t normally think about tonsil health in canines, but like us, dogs do have tonsils. Sometimes they become inflamed, which makes a dog feel very uncomfortable. Knowing the symptoms of tonsillitis can help you get your pet medical attention to ease his discomfort.

Two tonsils, one on each side of the mouth, are located at the back of the throat. Their primary function is to provide protection from bacteria and viruses. The tonsils are similar to lymph glands, and you normally can’t see them because when the tonsils are healthy they are hidden inside a pouch known as a crypt. Since their job is to fight infections, the tonsils can become infected. When that happens, it’s easier for us to see them because they become red, swollen, and are no longer contained in their pouch.

One of the more common ways dogs can get tonsillitis is from a buildup of tartar on the teeth due to poor dental hygiene, or a gum infection. Tonsillitis can also be caused by an irritation of the mouth or throat. Sometimes an infection from somewhere else gets into the mouth, and bacteria is able to get into the throat area. Most of the time, the cause is from bacteria normally found in the mouth that multiplies.

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What is the Purpose of Dog Whiskers?

dog whiskers jamesBy Linda Cole

Like cats and other animals, dogs have whiskers that stick out from the sides of their muzzle. Technically, they aren’t whiskers – they’re called vibrissae, which comes from a Latin word “vibrio” that means to vibrate. A dog’s whiskers are actually highly tuned, multi-functional, sensitive sensory hairs they need and use every day to perform specific functions that help them move around in their world.

Dog whiskers are found on both sides of their muzzle, as well as on the forehead above the eyes, on their chin and above the upper lip. As puppies grow, the whiskers are among the first hairs to develop. Unlike the neatly arranged 12 whiskers in four rows on each side of a cat’s face, dog whiskers are more varied in their pattern depending on their breed and genetics.

Whiskers are twice as thick and coarser than regular dog hair. Their roots are set three times deeper and packed with nerves and blood vessels that make each individual whisker a super sensitive receptor to movement. Air moving it or objects brushing against it causes the whisker to vibrate and stimulates the nerves. Dog whiskers are as sensitive as our fingertips. Whiskers play an important role in helping dogs understand and move through their environment.

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